Tribune News Service
Gurdaspur, February 14
A video showing 89 Indian women, who have sought refuge at the Indian embassy in Muscat (Oman) after escaping from the clutches of their oppressive landlords, pleading for help has gone viral.
A majority of the women belong to Andhra Pradesh; 14 are from Punjab.
In the four-minute-long video, they narrated their ordeal of how they were duped by travel agents—first in India and then in Dubai.
They claimed that agents sent them to the UAE on a tourist visa with an assurance that their contacts in Dubai would help them get jobs as nurse and teacher.
Once in Dubai, they got trapped and forced to work as domestic help. They were again given a false assurance by Dubai agents that they would be provided with “decent jobs” in Muscat. Once there, they were sold off to rich landlords, who confiscated their passports and made them work for 18 hours a day, often beating them if they refuse to follow their orders.
The women somehow managed to escape and reached the embassy. They have been living in the embassy for the past six to 11 months, hoping that they would return home soon.
On seeing the video, Dubai-based businessman Surinder Pal Singh Oberoi offered to help the beleaguered women. He agreed to pay their repatriation costs, which included air fare, and immigration and overstay fines.
Oberoi, chief of the Sarbat Da Bhalla Charitable Trust, claimed that besides 89 women, 15 more girls had been made hostage by their landlords in Muscat. This takes the number to 104.
He had earlier paid “blood money” amounting to US $2.2 million to the relatives of a Pakistani man allegedly killed by a group of 17 boys belonging to Punjab.
“I am in touch with the women, including the ones being made to work like slaves by their landlords,” he claimed.
“I have requested embassy officials to facilitate the process of making new passports of the women. Some of the landlords are willing to hand over the original documents provided they are paid the amount that they had given to the agents when they had ‘purchased’ the women. My organisation will also pay the landlords,” Oberoi told The Tribune from Dubai.
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